Saturday, 25 February 2012

More clientele

The Lego cash register has been very popular, thanks for your comments.  I bet there are lots of things that could be made out of Lego and then disguised to look appropriate for the dollshouse.

I've now finished the final three dolls that I am upcycling.  The shops now look fairly well populated although there should perhaps be another staff person.  I will keep my eyes open for a decent doll to be a shop assistant.  I do have some other dolls in my stash but unlike these dolls it is their heads and limbs that look mutated, not just their hideous clothes, so no good for this project.

Here is the 'before' picture.

The doll at the left wasn't that bad apart from fur-like hair and a gravity-defying cardigan.  I tamed the cardigan with some hidden stitching, and glued some additional hair onto her head right over the old hair.  There wasn't much I could do about her silhouette which suggests she is wearing the mother of all push-up bras - it's because of the edge of the china head plate across her chest.

The other two dolls are ultra-cheap dolls dressed in hot-glued travesties which I immediately removed.  Amusingly they had glued on lace underwear, which seems a surprising amount of detail considering how hideous their dresses were.  And their bodies are actually quite nice, full china bodies with moving arms and legs. I tried doing something with their nylon hair, but it was too springy so I had to scrape it off.  Their heads have a hollow in them.  I decided that they deserved to be in skirts and dresses to show off their well formed legs.

I've discovered that despite my large stash of ripped-out magazine articles on dressing dolls, and my library of dollshouse books, I don't actually appear to have any modern clothing patterns.  So I had to wing it.  For the first doll, I made a sort of shift dress cut on the bias from very thin cotton denim, and used some of the rick-rack trim from the travesty dress for a belt.  I added a leather handbag I had in my stash, and some blond hair.

For the second doll, I made a blue velvet mini skirt, and then stretched my doll-dressing skills to the limit by constructing a Liberty-style blouse with collar.  For the hair, I tied the centre of a hank of hair tightly with thread, and glued the resulting lump into the hole in the head.  Once that dried, I arranged the hair with a bit more glue around the hairline, then gave her a modern hair cut.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

1:12 scale Cash Register / Till from Lego

I've been looking for a modern cash register for my quilt shop for a long time.  I could only find two for sale online, a British one which wasn't very detailed and an American one which seemed rather expensive.  There is a card printable cash register on Jim's Printables, but I didn't think I could get it to look very realistic.  So I decided I would have to make my own.

Step one was to have a protracted dig in my son's large box of discarded Lego (he has now grown out of it).  After a long search, I came up with the following components.

The two bases are quite thin, only one 'bump' high.  I put one on top of the other to simulate a cash drawer, added the slanted bits to be the keyboard, and topped it with the four-bump bar, and capped off the bumps with the two smooth caps. 

Meanwhile, I was also looking for a bit of Lego to use for a credit card machine.  I didn't find anything, so I had a dig through various other junk boxes and came up with a discarded dollshouse electric plug.

I pulled out the wire and the pins, and cut the plug in half using a razor saw.

To make the sides of the credit card machine, I used one small punched card circle (the size of a hole punch for a ring binder) for the end, and cut two side pieces from a larger punched card circle.

Then I sprayed both assemblies with grey car primer.

To add the detail, I searched on Google Images under 'cash register screen' for the keyboard, 'cash register customer pole display' for the readout, and 'credit card machine' for the credit card machine keyboard.  I shrank the images I found down to the appropriate size, and printed them out on an inkjet printer.  Then I sealed them with DecoArt Multi Sealer, and glued them on using PVA glue.  I also added a poster for quilt classes to the customer side of the register, and a tiny 'crystal' to be the keyhole of the cash drawer.

Friday, 10 February 2012

More dolls

As well as the resin figures covered in the last post, I have five china-head dolls that I had picked up cheaply in sales bins at shows.  They obviously don't look as realistic but I am hopeful I can use them to add more customers to the quilt and knitting shops.

I will put my hand up and admit that dressing dolls is not my forte.  If I'm on a course with a teacher to guide me, then I can turn out a reasonable product.  Left to my own devices, I generally end up with something that looks more like a mutant.

Here are the 'before' pictures.

The doll at the right is wearing a hand-knit jumper that I bought separately.  She was the least in need of attention, so I started with her.

I stripped off the remains of her blouse and took off the trousers.  They were way too big, with a crotch that was about half an inch too low.  So I raised the crotch and slimmed down the legs with some stitching.

I also cut off the waistband and re-stitched the front and back seams to reduce excess.

Then I put it back on the doll, hand stitched the pleats in again, and gathered up the waist.

As she was suffering from a major bad hair day, I trimmed up the hair with nail scissors and then sprayed her whole head with hair spray to smooth down the fly-aways.

Then the handknit jumper went back on.

Now she is having a good dig into the sales bin in the knitting shop.

The next mutant to receive some attention was the older bag lady in the head scarf.  I stripped off all of her clothes, and peeled off her wild hot-glued hair mop.  I had some grey hair in my stash already formed into ripples, so I glued some of that on to create a hairstyle, and added some bead earrings.

For her clothing, I cut up an old cardigan. I used a bit of the ribbed collar for her skirt, and then cut a pattern out of kitchen paper towel for her tunic top.

I cut the tunic out all in one piece, hemmed under the cuffs at the wrist, and applied glue along the cut edge of the back and front to stop fraying.  Then I cut a slit for the neck, and sewed the side seams on the sewing machine.  I wasn't sure what to do with the neckline, as I thought trying to turn it under would be too bulky.  So I glued on some mini rickrack.  I'm not entirely happy with it, perhaps I should have tried to do a collar.

And here she is, taking part in the quilting workshop on the top floor.

Two dolls was all that I had time for, so three more to go.